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Whom Do Mutual-Help Groups Help? A Typology of Members
Jim Young; Christopher L. Williams
Psychiatric Services 1988; doi:
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This research was funded by a Health Services Research and Development grant from the Australian Institute of Health and a grant from GROW. The authors thank Janet Haines for her assistance in the preparation of this paper.

Department of psychology at the University of Tasmania, Box 252C, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 7001

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

A total of 1,677 members of GROW, a mutual-help organization, were surveyed about the reasons they joined GROW and their perceptions of its effectiveness in meeting their needs. The organization was founded 30 years ago to enhance the rehabilitation of former mental patients, but it now includes members who have never been treated for mental illness. Cluster analysis of the survey data revealed five distinct groups of members. One group sought relief of symptoms, while others sought a supportive community, help in recovering from trauma, help in coping with bereavement, or the opportunity to help others. The interests of the different types of members in GROW, and in other mutual-help organizations, may be at odds because some members may need social support that encourages change (facilitative support), while others may need social support that provides stable relationships (palliative support).

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